Coronavirus: Alberta increasing outdoor gathering limit to 200

The province announced the change will better accommodate events such as festivals, firework displays, rodeos, sporting events and outdoor performances. 
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Edmonton officials recommend against recreational activities on the North Saskatchewan River
Edmonton Fire Rescue's chief of special operations is warning against people going on the North Saskatchewan River for recreational activities.
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Workers affected by Phoenix pay woes to get $350 million in compensation
OTTAWA – At least another $350 million will be added to the $2.6 billion cost of the badly mismanaged Phoenix pay system, as the government has reached a deal to compensate public servants for the stress and uncertainty the flawed payroll program caused. The deal announced Friday with the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) will see 140,000 public servants receive a lump sum payment of $2,500 in compensation. The payroll software, launched in early 2016, has been mired with technical problems ever since, public servants went unpaid, sometimes for months at a time and the system struggled to handle basic payroll functions, like maternity leaves or overtime. There were widespread reports of public servants being unwilling to pursue promotions because of fears Phoenix would wreck their pay. PSAC president Chris Aylward, said even people who got paid on time were hit by the system. “All of our members have been affected by Phoenix even if your pay was not interrupted. You still woke up on pay week wondering if you were going to get paid or not,” he said. “You put off promotions and acting assignments and stuff like that because you didn’t want your pay to change.” Government backs off, won't transfer nearly 3,500 RCMP civilian members to plagued Phoenix pay system New concerns over Phoenix pay backlog raised after employees' compensation gets cut Treasury board president Jean-Yves Duclos was unavailable for an interview Friday, but in a statement said he was pleased the government had reached a deal. “PSAC will receive compensation for the toll that the Phoenix pay system has had on their lives. This is a testament to our commitment to reaching fair and equitable agreements, mindful of today’s economic and fiscal context.” The government also settled a broader agreement with 84,000 PSAC members. That three-year deal will see employees get a total raise of 6.64 per cent and also includes new rules for parental leave and 10 days leave for people experiencing domestic violence. The deal still needs to be ratified. The Phoenix system was initially pegged as a cost-saving measure, but the parliamentary budget officer determined last year, by 2023, the government is likely to spend $2.6 billion dealing with the broken system, well above the initial projections and significantly more than the old system was costing. In 2018, the auditor general called it an “incomprehensible failure of project management and oversight.” The auditor also concluded managers had prioritized getting the system launched on time and on budget over making sure it actually worked. “In our opinion, the decision by Phoenix executives to implement Phoenix was unreasonable according to the information available at the time. As a result, Phoenix has not met user needs, has cost the federal government hundreds of millions of dollars, and has financially affected tens of thousands of its employees,” read the 2018 report. The system was designed and implemented under Stephen Harper’s Conservative government and turned on when the Liberals took office, despite warnings of problems. It replaced a 40-year-old payroll system and was set up to pay some 290,000 federal workers across the country. The government had offered PSAC five days of paid leave in Phoenix compensation and several other large government unions took that offer, but PSAC rejected it. Aylward said that offer was fundamentally unfair because the leave would have a different value depending on an employee’s salary. He said someone making $50,000 a year would receive much less if they cashed in that leave than someone making $80,000 even if they both suffered through the payroll system. The $2,500 lump sum is prorated based on how many years someone has been working with the government, but anyone who has been on the job since 2016 will receive the full amount. Aylward said Phoenix is working better than it once did, but the system continues to cause problems. “The number of pay issues have decreased but every single payday there’s still issues.” The deal also includes a process to allow public servants to be compensated if their lack of pay caused other problems, like late payment charges or fines. Several other unions have previously settled with the government over Phoenix, agreeing to the five days paid leave in compensation, but they negotiated a clause that saw them able to take part in a better deal if one was reached. Debi Daviau, president of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, who signed the paid leave deal, said they were still assessing what it would mean to them. “We are waiting for more details about this agreement to determine if and how it will impact our members, she said in a statement. If those other unions opt to take the $2,500 lump sum instead of the paid leave it will add tens of millions to the cost for government. The Liberals are working through a process to replace Phoenix completely with testing underway on one proposed supplier but no set date for launch of the new system. Aylward said when the then Conservative government decided to create Phoenix they forgot to actually ask the people who would use it. “There was no consultation with the unions. There was no consultation with the employees who were doing pay work.” He said so far the Liberals have moved more cautiously with Phoenix’s replacement. At the peak, the government had over 260,000 Phoenix related pay issues in its backlog as of May that number is down to 137,000 problems and the government is processing more problems than new ones are coming in. Twitter: RyanTumilty Email: rtumilty@postmedia.com
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Were Digital Dior and Chanel any good?
The first streamed couture shows were more like mini-movies, music videos, trailers and perfume commercials — there were some clothes, too.
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Laid-off geologist overcoming COVID-19 crisis by creating sanitizing wipes business
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a real test for a lot of people. A Calgary woman took her unfortunate turn and transformed it into a viable growing business.
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COMMENTARY: Canada and the U.S. are neighbours but miles apart when it comes to COVID-19
The COVID-19 situation in the United States is almost out of control in many places, unlike in Canada where the curve has largely been flattened.
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B.C. SPCA South Okanagan branch seeking new home for abandoned dog
Staff at the South Okanagan Branch of the B.C. SPCA says a recently abandoned Pomeranian is “sweetest little fella who loves absolutely everyone.”
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NHL post-COVID training camps bring optimism — and heightened expectations
Training camps are usually a time of optimism. Every team believes it has a chance to make the playoffs. This year, with 24 teams in the post-season, that optimism has never been higher as camps open up on Monday following a four-month break because of the coronavirus. But with optimism comes heightened expectations. Here’s a […]
Toronto Sun
Limited version of Playland reopens with new COVID-19 precautions
"What we wanted to do was start with our most popular family rides, these are rides that are clearly geared at our younger thrill seekers."
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City of Victoria seeks court order to move homeless people in Beacon Hill Park
The order would require homeless people to shelter in permitted areas of the park and prohibit them from sheltering in areas such as the Garry oak ecosystems, which is part of a protected and endangered natural system. 
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Canadian Football League submits revised financial request to federal government
The CFL has sent Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault a revised financial request.
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Thoughts of home find a way to burst the Raptors’ bubble
They could be away from their families for weeks or maybe months as the NBA starts up again. “I’ve been gone a week and I miss my kids already,” Raptors guard Fred VanVleet says.
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Low interest rates, need for space amid pandemic created surge in home sales in Niagara: realtors
One of Canada's largest real estate firms says the surge in home sales bumped up prices across Ontario, with a double-digit increase in the Niagara area.
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Possible coronavirus outbreak at Montreal nightclub La Voûte after 1 person tests positive
The nightclub is asking all those who attended the establishment on the night of July 4 to get tested for COVID-19 as soon as possible.
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Metro Vancouver seeing biggest spike in mosquitoes in nearly a decade
The worst is likely over, but there could be "several more weeks of not pleasant mosquito conditions."
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Public engagement report released for Calgary’s new event centre
Officials noted the primary themes found from public input include creating a place of gathering and connection to create civic pride and diversity of programming inside and outside of the new facility.
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Ontario Premier Doug Ford confident in NHL’s pandemic plan for hub cities
Doug Ford says he’s comfortable with the NHL’s plan, despite the fact British Columbia expressed some reservations about health procedures that ultimately led to Vancouver dropping out of hub-city contention.
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Calgary’s caped crusader: An unsung superhero emerges amid COVID-19
"She’s just been a light during this dark time."
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Giants catcher Buster Posey opts out of 2020 season, cites newborn twins’ health
Posey made the emotional decision to opt out of the 2020 baseball season Friday after he and his wife Kristen adopted identical twin girls.
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Tarion plan reveals reforms are still a work in progress
CEO says stronger consumer protections are needed to gain public confidence in the home warranty provider and building regulator.
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Major wreck leaves vehicles unrecognizable on Perimeter Highway
A serious crash left two vehicles a mangled wreck on the Perimeter Highway near Fermor Avenue.
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First black Miss Universe became a national icon in Trinidad
When Janelle “Penny” Commissiong became Miss Universe in 1977, the world sat up and took notice. Commissiong, from the tiny island of Trinidad, was the first ever black Miss Universe — a hopeful sign and something to be celebrated far beyond pageant circles. Toronto resident (and former Much/City entertainment reporter) Nadine Ramkisson — a fellow […]
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Toronto Sun
COVID-19 will change Maritime Pride festivals but it won’t cancel events: organizers
Although many events have been postponed or canceled due to the pandemic, Atlantic Pride festivals will continue with a hybrid of online and in-person events.
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Heavy metal used by Co-op refinery detected in Regina wastewater
The refinery has made arrangements to have the vanadium-concentrated water hauled off-site for specialized treatment, says the City of Regina.
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Hamilton mobster Pat Musitano shot dead in Burlington
Musitano, 52, was shot Friday afternoon on a Burlington street. The long-time mobster, formerly considered an Ontario lieutenant of Montreal mob boss Vito Rizzuto, survived an earlier attempt on his life last year.
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Emma Teitel: With your help, children can regain some of their carefree spirit from the time before
There will be changes at camp, but it’s one of the only spaces where kids can get a small taste of what life was like before the pandemic hit, writes Emma Teitel.
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N.S. harm reduction advocates applaud police chiefs for stance on drug decriminalization
The Canadian Association of National Police chiefs has endorsed the decriminalization of simple possession of illicit drugs.
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Alberta confirms 77 new COVID-19 cases on Friday
Seventy-seven more people in Alberta have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the province announced on Friday.
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Canada Added 953,000 Jobs In June, Unemployment Rate Fell: StatCan
OTTAWA — Nearly one million more Canadians had jobs in June than a month earlier, Statistics Canada says, as businesses forced to close by the pandemic began to reopen and the country continued to recoup the steep losses over March and April.Statistics Canada’s labour force survey released Friday showed 953,000 jobs were added last month, including 488,000 full-time and 465,000 part-time positions. The unemployment rate fell to 12.3 per cent after hitting a record-high of 13.7 per cent in May.As in May, even though more people found jobs, more people were also looking for work as the labour force grew by about 786,000 after a gain of 491,000 in May, bringing it to within 443,000 of its pre-pandemic level.Statistics Canada said the unemployment rate would have been 16.3 per cent had it included in unemployment counts those who wanted to work, but did not look for a job.Job gains were made in every province, including by 378,000 in Ontario, marking the first increase since the COVID-19 shutdown, Statistics Canada said. It didn’t include any gains in Toronto as restrictions in that city loosened after the survey week.Despite the good news, economist Jim Stanford said there remains a historic crisis in the job market with high unemployment and hundreds of thousands who have left the labour force altogether.Also, gains nationally were not shared equally among groups, with women, youth and low-wage workers still slower to rebound, which Stanford said could be problematic if those jobs don’t ever come back.“I worry about a coming second round of layoffs motivated not by health restrictions, but by companies deciding their businesses are going to be permanently smaller. So that would be qualitatively different and in a way worse,” said Stanford, director of the Centre for Future Work in Vancouver.“We aren’t remotely out of the woods yet, but this was a really encouraging step forward.”Some three million jobs were lost over March and April due to the pandemic, and 2.5 million more had their hours and earnings slashed. By last month, some 3.1 million were affected by the pandemic, including 1.4 million who weren’t at work due to COVID-19.Brendon Bernard, an economist at Indeed Canada, said recapturing jobs at the same pace in the coming months will be tougher.“A lot of areas of the economy still aren’t running at full capacity,” Bernard said. “So while doors may be open and customers might be coming in, business hasn’t come back to normal.”Oil and gas still strugglingDespite the overall improvement, the oil and gas industry continues to struggle.The PetroLMI Division of Energy Safety Canada says direct oil and gas employment fell by more than 6,700 positions in June compared with May, with about 70 per cent of the net job losses in Alberta.Compared with a year earlier, employment in the oil and employment sector was down 17 per cent.The overall job losses were unprecedented in speed and depth compared with previous recessions, Statistics Canada said, and the rebound to date sharper than previous downturns.Ottawa’s response has been equally unprecedented: a deficit of at least $343.2 billion this fiscal year as the Trudeau Liberals dole out some $230 billion in emergency aid.In June, 28.3 per cent of Canadians aged 15 to 69 reported receiving some form of federal aid since mid-March, Statistics Canada said. Meanwhile, the proportion of households reporting difficulty paying the bills dropped to 20.1 per cent in June from 22.5 per cent in May.“Without the federal government being there to support Canadian workers, Canadian businesses and the Canadian provinces and territories, we would be in a bigger mess in this country right now,” Hassan Yussuff, president of the Canadian Labour Congress said in an interview this week.Canadians still ‘face real challenges’The Bank of Canada and federal government believe the worst of the economic pain from the pandemic is behind the country, but Canada will face high unemployment and low growth until 2021.In a statement, federal Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough touted the overall jobs numbers as a sign the government’s plan was working, before adding many Canadians still “face real challenges during this time.”She and other ministers are now reshaping programs so fewer workers stay on the $80-billion emergency benefit, and more get tied to jobs through the $82-billion wage subsidy program.“We understand the need for those emergency programs. We also understand as we reopen and recover, we have to move away from emergency programs and into stimulus and recovery,” said Leah Nord, senior director of workforce strategies for the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.She said there are other issues to resolve around health and safety in the workplace, transit, and child care to help more Canadians get back to work.RELATED CERB Is Coming To An End As Feds Focus On Wage Subsidy Canada’s Deficit Is 1,000% Higher Than Projected At Start Of 2020 Basic Income Could Cost Less Than Money Spent On CERB: Watchdog In provinces where daycares reopened for children five and under, employment levels returned to pre-pandemic levels for fathers in June, but not for mothers. Similarly, mothers with children under 18 were more likely than fathers to work less than half their usual hours in June, Statistics Canada said.Job gains have come at a faster clip for men. Their unemployment rate hit 12.1 per cent in June compared to 12.7 per cent for women. And the underutilization rate — which counts those who are unemployed, those who want a job but didn’t look for one, and those working less than half their usual hours — was 28.3 for women and 25.5 per cent for men.Economist Armine Yalnizyan said the numbers underscore the need to provide child care as well as options for schooling in the fall so mothers can work.The alternative, she said, could pull back any economic gains.“It means that even if there are jobs, some women won’t be able to take them because there’s no way they can leave their kids,” said Yalnizyan, a fellow on the future of workers at the Atkinson Foundation. “So we are looking at the potential for an economic depression instead of talking about paces of recovery and pivoting to building to better.”This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 10, 2020.
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Collin Morikawa builds big lead at Muirfield Village before storms
Morikawa ran off four straight birdies after making the turn Friday, finished with another birdie and shot 6-under 66 to build a four-shot lead over Sam Burns (66) in the storm-delayed tournament.
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Five overlooked benefits of learning a new language
Adding another language to your skill set can improve your employability and boost your salary
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Toronto Sun
More than two thirds of Ontarians think police treat Black and Indigenous people worse than others, poll finds
A staggering 90 per cent of respondents believe all Ontario officers should have mandatory body cameras with only five per cent opposed and five per cent unsure, a new poll finds.
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Grocery store execs exchanged ‘courtesy’ calls before canceling coronavirus pay, MPs told
Three executives say the companies reached their decisions independently based on numerous factors that for some included knowing a competitor's plan.
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Nine in 10 riders wearing masks despite lack of enforcement, says TTC
Social distancing becomes harder as the city begins to reopen and people start taking transit again.
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B.C. reports 25 COVID-19 cases, most since May 8
The province also announced one new fatality at Vancouver's Holy Family Hospital long-term care centre.
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A city-by-city breakdown of how Canadians want to defund the police
The call to “defund the police” is reverberating through North American cities, and has prompted several major municipalities to move forward with extensive policing reforms, led by the $1 billion moved from the New York Police Department’s budget, and the commitment of nine city councillors in Minneapolis to dismantling and rebuilding the city’s police service. As a concept, defunding the police is not new, but reached new heights following protests worldwide after George Floyd was killed during his arrest in Minneapolis in May. What it means is less clear and hotly debated. For supporters, it means a more diversified approach to policing, and reallocating police budgets to other social services and support. For detractors, it means less police to protect people and their property. British Columbia Premier John Horgan called defunding a “simplistic approach.” Ontario Premier Doug Ford said: “I think we need strong police within the communities. What we do need to do is have a higher standard. We need for focus on more training.” Some Canadian cities have moved — with varying degrees of boldness — towards “defunding” more broadly, and reform more specifically. Here’s what’s happening across the country: British Columbia The province announced in June it would review its Police Act. On Wednesday, the B.C. government announced an all-party provincial committee would examine the scope of systemic racism as part of reforms to its 45-year-old bill governing how police operate in the province. Victoria will review the gender and ethnic composition of the police force in line with the general population. Police chief Del Menak is against funding cuts because he says police are already underfunded. In  Vancouver there have been multiple calls over the years to cut the city’s $340 million policing budget. But in May, the Vancouver Police Board couldn’t agree on a one per cent cut suggested by city council. Mayor Kennedy Stewart, who also chairs the police board, deferred to the province when it came to large scale reforms of cuts. “While many U.S. cities, including Minneapolis, can massively restructure its police, neither organizations which I chair can legally do this even if they wanted to,” he said. In Surrey, t he city has, since 2018, been working on creating a municipal police force to replace the RCMP. The new force will be up and running by Spring 2021. Former B.C. solicitor general Kash Heed says this is an opportunity to create a model police force, while others believe more officers are needed. Alberta In  Calgary , there are calls to shift funding from the $400 million police budget  — the single largest budget item in the city — to social services. “We’re not abolishing police. We just want a cap on their budget,” activist LJ Parker,  who’s with Calgary Supports Black Lives Matter,  told the Calgary Herald . Edmonton ‘s city council cut police spending  by $11 million over two years. This is less than three per cent of the $388 million police budget . The city announced 19 other police reform steps. The first will be a safety and well-being task force that will report back next year. Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe’s government has been working on body-worn cameras for police and an independent oversight body for police misconduct. Mayors and chiefs across the province, including in Regina,  have said the crime rate is too high to reallocate funds. “Our crime rate and our crime per capita in Saskatchewan and in Regina is one of the highest in Canada,” said Regina police Chief Evan Bray . “And yes, it goes right back to those social justice issues … but that presence and that need for our police officers to be able to do this meaningful work in our community is not going to go away,” Manitoba  Premier Brian Pallister said defunding the police is a no go. The province has a review underway of its police act. The chief of police in  Winnipeg  has spoken favourably about reducing police funding — if social services spending gets a boost from the province. The police do have a body camera program. The North In the  Northwest Territories  there have been calls to end the RCMP’s presence and replace it with Indigenous-led justice systems. The territorial justice minister, Caroline Wawzonek, claimed it’s not practical. In Nunavut,  there have been discussions about pilot projects such as body-worn videocams. Ontario Calls for police reforms escalated in Toronto recently following the death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet, a 29-year-old woman, who fell from her 24th-floor balcony when police responded to a 911 call. Others have been killed by police in the city, including Andrew Loku in 2015 and Sammy Yatim in 2013. At the end of June,  Toronto city council said no to defunding the police. Two councillors had argued for a $107 million cut to the budget for 2021. The current  budget is around $1.2 billion. Mayor John Tory has called for reforms, such as “non-police led response to calls which do not involve weapons or violence.” In  Ottawa,  some councillors have supported the idea of reallocating police funding, The current operations budget is $358 million. Chief Peter Sloly has said the force is committed to addressing biases within the force. Mayor Jim Watson, meanwhile, has  said he’s not in favour of cutting the police budget. Quebec Quebec’s Public Security Ministry has committed to looking into how funds could be moved from police to other services. In Montreal, 20 local community groups have called for a deep cutting of police funding, from $600 million to $300 million. Mayor Valerie Plante said she’s open to the discussion of how to reallocate funding, but said it would be a big and trying conversation. Atlantic Canada In  Halifax,  the city dropped its plan to purchase an armoured vehicle, and will reallocate the funds to public safety and fighting anti-Black racism, Global News reported. In Prince Edward Island, the Official Opposition made the case for reallocating police money, but in Charlottetown,  at least one councillor said they supported the police instead.  “There is no indication that we’re in a monetary crunch right now that would force us to defund or claw back or reduce staff,” councillor Bob Doiron told The Guardian. In New Brunswick, which is policed by a combination of municipal police forces and the RCMP, there are new calls for defunding. There were two police shootings in early June. Chantel Moore, a 26-year old Indigenous woman was killed by Edmundston police while they were conducting a wellness check Then, Rodney Levi, 48, of Metepenagiag First Nation, was shot and killed by RCMP on June 12. And, in  St. John’s, there have been defund the police rallies. With files from The Canadian Press and Postmedia Network 
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CFL submits revised financial request to federal government, source says
A CFL source said Friday the league is seeking roughly $42.5 million in aid. In April, it asked the federal government for up to $150 million in financial assistance in the event of a cancelled 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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thestar.com | Toronto Star | Canada's...
Two North York women charged in connection with the murder of an alleged Liberian warlord last month
Bill Horrace of Toronto was shot to death shortly before 5 a.m. on Sunday June 21, after four men burst into the London home where he was staying.
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One dead, one wounded in broad daylight Burlington shooting
One person is dead and another is in hospital following a shooting in Burlington on Friday afternoon. Halton Regional Police say officers responded to reports of gunshots at an address on Plains Rd. E., west of King Rd., just after 1 p.m. When officers arrived, two victims with gunshot wounds were located outside of an […]
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Toronto Sun
Elle Fanning on top of the world in ‘The Great’: ‘It was a gift that I got this’
Elle Fanning wasn’t deeply familiar with the story of Catherine the Great, the longest-reigning female ruler in Russia’s history. But quickly after she agreed to lead Hulu’s The Great, she learned there was more to the famed empress than the rumour she’d had sex with a horse. “I didn’t know much about her. I knew […]
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Toronto Sun
‘The cruelty is staggering:’ U.S. deports migrants using coronavirus public health powers
Many have been swept up by Customs and Border Protection using extraordinary power available during public health emergencies to expel Mexicans and many Central Americans
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Hydro-Québec to extend preferential rate to hundreds of greenhouses
Producers of fruits, vegetables, flowers, plants and cannabis will benefit from the change.
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